Friday, January 27, 2012

This has been a week of wonders for Noelle, and I have felt like a little girl all over again, being able to experience everything with her. 
Birthdays are pretty special around here, but this year, for this birthday, for this girl, we have had some exciting surprises in store. 

The first and best surprise would, of course, be Grandpa and Grandma Anderson showing up on our doorstep the day before her birthday. 
{Try to take a picture when your hands are shaking and your eyes are filling up with tears}

 Next, a pink camera, that she has been hoping for, for years.

Pink poodle slippers from her dear friend Clara.

Pink cupcakes made by her sisters.

Her first professional haircut - ever!

{Tate and I had such fun watching her.}

Although it is hard to see in the picture, Michelle, our hair dresser, even added sparkles to her hair when she was finished.
They look so pretty in person. 
Did you know that you can buy spray on sparkles for your hair?! 

She even got her ears pierced! 
Noelle has a very low tolerance for pain. This girl will not even pull a band aid off. 
I was really concerned that she wouldn't go through with it when we got there. 
Not only did she hop right in that chair and get it done without a flinch, she couldn't stop smiling all afternoon. 
I think I was more nervous than she was. This is my baby, you know.

And to top it all off we had planned to go to Vancouver tomorrow, but it must have all been too much for her. 
She is now down and out on the sofa, sick as she can be. Poor girl. 
What a way to end the most marvelous week ever. 

Get better Noelle. 

I cannot believe the person I see you becoming. You are so very beautiful, inside and out. 
You are your daddy's little girl, your momma's big helper, your grandparents shinning star.
Thank you for loving me, for being my daughter, and one of my very best friends. 
Happy birthday! love, Mom

mission: impossible

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The bathrooms are clean.....
the laundry is done.....
the house is filled with groceries.....
I am showered and ready.....
the kids are busy building, cooking, and learning.....

and after 2 months of planning and secret keeping, and a few very close calls when the cat was let out of the bag only to be ever so quickly scooped back up and shoved back in, 
they have no idea that Grandpa and Grandma Anderson are only half an hour away!

word of the year

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Have you heard of this? I am sure many of you have. I am usually the last to find out anything, and I am quite careful about "jumping on the band wagon". But this inspired me, so I thought I would share.
Choose one word. One word for the whole year. A word that inspires you. This is a kind of new years resolution.
I have been very thoughtful about my one word. There are many good ones. I thought about early, edify, plenty, relax, celebrate, rejoice, learn, endure, smile, breath, focus, enhance, enrich, and many others. I love the simplicity of it, but choosing just one word was harder for me than I had first anticipated. But it eventually came, and I knew it was my word.

Just one word, to help me stretch and grow. To help me meet new goals (or old ones I haven't quite mastered yet), to continue to try harder and be kinder, to myself and others. Just one word.......... fill.

Fill my heart will warm feelings.
Fill my mind with good thoughts.
Fill my house with laughter and music.
Fill my time with worthy pursuits.
Fill my mouth with soft words.
Fill our bodies with good food.
Fill my nightstand with great books.
Fill my spare time with inspiring friends.
Fill my bath with bubbles.
Fill my cup with tea and honey.
Fill my hurts with healing and forgiveness.
Fill my yard with flowers.
Fill my fear with courage.
Fill my prayers with thanksgiving and earnest requests.
Fill my scriptures with highlights.
Fill my days with hope.
And fill my arms with these......

I'd love to know your word!

Link up if you want (It's my first time, ever!)
or leave me a comment.

The Lettered Cottage


6 years and snow

Monday, January 16, 2012

It snowed today..... finally. 
6 years ago at this time, I was hoping it wouldn't.

6 years ago I was expecting my 4th baby, a little boy. I knew, and Darren knew, and Bergen knew. But we did not tell anyone else. This was our secret for 5 months. This was the first time we had ever found out. We shared our secret with Bergen because we were so excited for him that he was going to have a brother. When we told him he simply said, "I know". 

All during that pregnancy, knowing that we would have to drive to Victoria, over the Malahat, I worried that it would snow and that we wouldn't be able to get there. I could, of course, have gone to the Duncan hospital, but anyone who has ever felt bonded to the doctor that helped deliver their babies will understand why the trip was made. 

6 years ago today my water broke, just after dinner. We packed up our bags, settled the other children with my mom, and drove away in great excitement. There was not a snowflake in sight. Whether or not the forecast called for clear skies, I felt that my prayers had been answered. I was so sure that I was only a couple of hours away from having a baby in my arms. But that is not the way it was to be. Little did I know that he was still hours and hours and hours away.

As I watched the snow gently falling today, my mind was filled with all these memories. 

As I watched Tate watch the snow fall, and wait with great anticipation to be able to go outside and play, I recalled my own feelings as I waited for this baby to come. Although he came on his due date, he came in his own time, as slowly as the gently falling snow.

In celebration of the snowfall we made snowflake marshmallows to enjoy with out hot chocolate.
I first saw this idea on pinterest, via Martha Stewart. Instead of using that recipe though, which seemed more complex than it had to be, I thought I would use marshmallow fondant instead. So easy.
  1. melt marshmallows and water in microwave, stir
  2. add powdered sugar, mix
  3. turn out onto counter, knead, and roll out
  4. cut shapes with cookie cutters  

bunny slippers

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jared, Shannon and Aubrey came for a visit last week. As usual the came and were gone again faster than we would have liked. We wish we could spend more time with them. But, also as usual, it was so nice to see them. 
We were able to give them our Christmas gifts. I made Aubrey a doll like the one I made for Nya, except I gave her a little brown bob. Shannon then started crocheting all sorts of clothes for the doll, and she made a pair of bunny slippers for Nya, so that she and her doll would have a matching pair. They are the cutest things you have ever seen! I think Shannon and I had more fun playing with the dolls than the girls did!

Thank you, Auntie Shannon. I love them! 
love, Nya & Pinkalicious {that is what she named her doll}

I hope....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I found this picture here (this blog has some really great free printables), via Pinterest, and I knew I wanted to put it here, in the boys room. So, I sent the picture off to Walmart, bought a frame, and put the 2 together. Now every time I walk into the this room, it is the first thing I see, and it makes me wonder. 

Although Tate tells me that he never wants to grow up to be a man (we have been learning about Peter Pan), I know the day will come when I will be sending my sons out into some part of the world that they have probably never been, for 2 years. I wonder of these boys I now raise. I wonder what they will be like. I worry, of course. Will I be able to get them there, to the place a boy becomes man? 

I wish for them to be just like their dad. I imagine the men they will become, and my heart feels hope. 
I may not be able to walk them through to manhood, but I will do my best to get them to the threshold. And with the Lord's help they will go, and grow, and return, no longer the boys I sent out, but men of God.

{I was going to clear off the dresser before I took this picture, but for the sake of a friend (you know who you are!) I left it as is. The way you would find it if you were actually in our home - complete with Mater riding the plane!}

a ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for ~ William Shedd

Monday, January 2, 2012

On December 31st I was filled with all kinds of thoughts. I was thinking of the many things we have to step back into this next week, the routines left behind in the celebration of His birth that are once again calling me back from my subconscious.  I also reflected back upon this past year. At first glance it seemed rather unremarkable, important, but nevertheless, unremarkable. 

On the very last day of 2011 we had no smashing party to attend. I had no gorgeous dress to wear. Nary a glass of bubbly was in sight, nor did we count down with the clock. We did, however, hold a Mario Cart competition, after we ate left-over sloppy joes for dinner. The kids were in bed by 8:30, we soon followed. My thought was this: Fitting really - we rang in the new year as unremarkably as we lived the last.

I did not make any new years resolutions. I keep thinking I should. Shouldn't I head into this new year with some goals?

I turned 34. Just 2 weeks ago.

As my birthday approached, I reflected back over the last year, my 33rd year of life. I remember turning 33, and thinking it was the happiest number! I was sure that it was going to be a great year. And the more I thought about it the more I began to realize, perhaps this year was a little more remarkable than first glance would suggest.

This year was hard. It brought more trials than I had anticipated. Looking back I can see how much I've grown, and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned. I have been humbled. In most cases I was compelled to be humble. I wish I would more often choose the humility instead.

This year also brought many unexpected adventures, things I didn't start the year setting out to accomplish. I learned to fence. I learned to row. I learned to surf. I made new friends. I got a new calling. I also did something, a secret something (I am still doing that something, actually, and I am not quite prepared to share it yet. Someday, but not today). This something I am doing I have been afraid to do for so long. But I did it, I took the first step, and a few more followed, and now I have set out at a jog.

The things I did this year may still seem unremarkable to most, but to me, to me they signify that I am courageous. Normally, I am about as mundane as one can be. It is comfortable here in this space I know so well. I would not ever describe myself as a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of girl. I like the predictable. I am much like the flower growing safely behind the terrarium glass.

This past year I lifted the lid just a bit.

What if this year I took the lid right off?

So as I step into 2012 I set out with a few goals: to continue on with the adventures I began last year, and to try and be a better mom to my children, wife to my husband, and friend to all I meet. This year most of all though, as people make resolutions to do something,  I commit my heart to do less of some things. I hope to stop caring what others think of me. I hope I will embrace the mess being a part of a big happy creative family brings. I hope to pay less attention to the mirror, the clock, and the to-do list. I hope that I will ignore my fears that tell me I can't.

What will my 34th year bring?

I do not know! But, I do know that I am going to fly by the seat of my pants a little more, trust myself to try new things, and open my arms and my heart to 365 more days filled with who knows what!

I am ready for it,

all of it!

And if this new year is anything like the last, I know I am in for a trip outside my safe harbor. After all:

couch potatoes

Sunday, January 1, 2012

On the 29th of December, Darren and company went on their annual winter surfing trip. I stayed home with one sick little girl. Nya woke up with a fever, and slept off and on for most of the day. Although I was so sad to see her feeling so sick, it was such a peaceful relaxing day. She sat beside me on the sofa all day long. She would eat and drink a little, here and there, then lay down and drift off to sleep. I sat with Emma and we knit the day away. I made my first dish cloth! The boys played together really well all day long, while Noelle and her cousin Lauren spent the whole day playing games. 

On a side note, Brent and Tracey and kids came up to spend Boxing Day with the family. They took Noelle home with them. A couple of days later we then traveled down to Sidney to spend the day with them. Tracey taught me to knit dishcloths. The adults went out to dinner and left the little ones with Noelle and Lauren, and then we brought Lauren home with us for a few days. She was so much fun to have around. We made pancakes and french toast, sweet potato fries and sloppy joes. We watched Sense and Sensibility, and visited Auntie Julianne at work. We swam, and played games, and just had fun!

Side note #2: Are those the cutest bunny slippers you have ever seen, or what? They were a gift from a very sweet little cousin to Nya.

Christmas morning 2011

 The kids slept until 7, and then we all got up and went downstairs. 

 Whenever we asked Nya what she wanted for Christmas she would reply, "pink lollipop". 
That is all she wanted. Santa delivered 3!

The boys asked for Lego from Santa, so I though we would give them something to hold their ever increasing collection. 
Darren and I designed and built these Lego boxes - they turned out better than I had imagined, and they tuck neatly under the bed!

For Nya I sewed a soft doll, with a sleeping bag, pillow, and extra outfits. 
When I had decided, back in October, that that is what I was going to make for her, 
I asked her what color hair she would pick for a doll - the answer was, of course, "pink!" 

I sewed each of my girls an apron as well. 
I first saw this design at a birthday party. Someone had sewn one for the birthday girl. 
I thought it was the cutest thing and I knew it would be perfect for my little bakers. 
The seamstress (one of the best I have ever met!)  had sewn velcro onto the side of the waist band. 
Instead of having to tie it up at the back, the kids can just wrap it around their waists and attach it themselves. Brilliant!

I made the girls a few felt bookmarks I saw on Pinterest. They were put to good use right away.

I also sewed the big girls a Christmas skirt, which I forgot to take a picture of. 
When we got home after church on Sunday, the kids were quick to change and resume the opening of presents. 
It wasn't until later that evening that I remembered I didn't get a picture of us all dressed in our new Christmas best.

I have a couple of sewing projects that I didn't get done in time for Christmas, for Noelle and Emma. 
I will continue to work away on those, but in the place of that gift the girls were given a gift certificate 
for a night out with mom, including dinner, and a trip to the movies. 
( I ran out of time, and was up until 11:30 Christmas Eve sewing, 
so although it doesn't quite classify as homemade, 
the certificate was, and they were THRILLED. 
Nothing could be more important than spending one on one time together, anyways.)

Now for my most favorites:

Besides what we made for the kids, they only got one other present from us, 
one gift for the boys to share and one for the girls. 
We weren't planning on buying anything other than what we had made for them, 
but one day while Darren was out he came across something that he knew the boys would love (I think mostly he loved it). 
Unbeknownst to him I had done the same thing. 
I was shopping for extended family when I came across something I just knew the girls would love (mostly I loved it). 
We laughed as we showed each other our finds, and couldn't wait to see the children's faces when they opened their gifts.

For the boys: A Lego Darth Vader alarm clock. 
He is about 8 inches high and can move his arms and legs and everything!
What Lego, Star Wars loving boy of 6 or 36 wouldn't love this?

For the girls, I found this elephant tea pot in Pots & Parafinalia (Julianne's new place of employment).
When I saw this I knew it would be the perfect gift for my 'everyday is a tea party' daughters. 
They loved it every bit as much as I did, and as much as I knew they would.

We had a fantastic bright and sunny, no snow in sight, green Christmas (I missed the snow). 
Darren completely surprised me with a few gifts. 
The kids were spoiled by Santa and family.
We loved being with some family, missed being with others. 
We enjoyed going to church. 
And to top it all off we had the privilege to share Christmas dinner with the Moore family.

Even the Moores came bearing a homemade gift. Thank you for the pillow, Debra. I love it!